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Ashura processions set out across country

Processions and majalis are being held across the country to mark Ashura amid strict security measures.

In Karachi, civil armed forces, backed by the Pakistan Army, have been deployed to ensure a peaceful and incident-free Ashura. The metropolis has been put on high alert.

Roads have been sealed off with containers while snipers have been placed on the roofs of high buildings in the city. Heli-cams are also being used to monitor the processions from the air.

Punjab security heightened

In Punjab, 10 districts — including Lahore, Rawal­pindi, Multan, Faisalabad, Gujran­wala, Jhang, Dera Ghazi Khan and Bahawalpur — have been declared “most sensitive”.

About 200,000 civil armed forces personnel, mainly police, have been deployed for the security of Ashura processions and majalis in all districts of Punjab, where 32 companies of the Pakistan Army are also deployed.

Pakistani Shiite Muslim women arrive to participate in a procession on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Muharram, in Islamabad ─ AP
Pakistani Shiite Muslim women arrive to participate in a procession on the ninth day of the Islamic month of Muharram, in Islamabad ─ AP

In Rawalpindi, more than 6,300 policemen, 10 companies each from military and Rangers have been deployed to provide security to 113 Majalis and 65 Ashura processions that are being taken out from different imambargahs in the city on Muharram 10.

Furthermore, walk-though gates and hundreds of CCTV cameras have been installed at different points to monitor the processions, while link roads were sealed to ensure the safety of mourners.

Security in GB, AJK beefed up

Special security arrangements have been made for Ashura processions and majalis being held in all four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The interior ministry, along with the National Cou­nter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), are overseeing the countrywide security measures.

Authorities say contingency plans have been put in place in case of any eventuality.

Pillion-riding bans were made effective in the week leading up to Ashura all across Sindh, including Karachi, and Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawal­pindi and Faisalabad.


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